Customer First the AUTOW way

About us

From our modest beginning over 50 years ago, we have grown right alongside our customers to become the largest independent and family-owned full service truck leasing and rental company in the mid-south region, covering the states of Tennessee and Alabama. We are confident our growth is due to our strong principles of providing the highest level of service in the industry and treating our customers like friends. Lee Harlan, Autow’s President and 3rd generation to lead the company, enjoys being very ''hands on'' and involved. Customer satisfaction is his number one goal. He says: “Provide the highest level of service in our industry and treat your customers the way you would want to be treated. In the end, you will have a customer for life and a good friend too." The secret to the company’s longevity is the only way AUTOW does business “the old fashioned way”. We invite you to experience the truck business the Customer First way, the AUTOW way. If you need one truck or a whole fleet, please give us a call. We’ll provide a transportation solution for your company and make a good friend at the same time.


Originally offering time & materials repairs as well as towing services, Autow Repairs was opened in Nashville, Tennessee by Howard Leon Harlan Sr. in 1962. After quickly realizing the need for rental vehicles for customers awaiting repairs on their primary vehicles, Leon purchased 10 box trucks and re-named the company Autow Truck Rental, Inc. Customers soon began requesting longer term leases rather than just short term rentals; therefore, the leasing division was added to the small local rental company in the early 1960’s.

Around 1965, Leon Harlan brought his son, Howard Leon Harlan Jr., in to help run the company. With Howard’s leadership, the Company soon grew to around 150 trucks by the early 1970’s. In 1978, Howard decided the Company needed national recognition and purchased the local Avis Truck Rental Franchise. Avis Autow Truck Rental was now based at a state of the art facility on 2.5 acres just one mile from downtown Nashville.

By this time, Autow’s fleet had grown to trucks consisting primarily of straight trucks and class 7 & 8 tractors. In 1990, shortly after graduating from the University of Georgia, Howard Leon (Lee) Harlan III started full time with the company, becoming the third generation involved in the family business. As a result of spending summers working at Autow and growing up in Nashville alongside many other local business owners, Lee gained the trust of many local businesses. In 1998, Lee purchased a NationaLease Franchise membership in order to gain purchasing power and access to over 700 locations throughout the United States and Canada. As a member of NationaLease, Autow could better serve customers experiencing breakdowns outside of middle Tennessee.

In 2005, Lee expanded the Company’s market share by opening a 7 acre facility in Birmingham, Alabama. The location currently has a 25,000 square foot facility and 2 warehouses that boast 50,000 plus square feet of storage leased to Coca Cola and Wrax Manufacturing. Today, Autow is principally engaged in the long-term lease and short-term rental of medium and heavy duty over-the-road trucks. Autow has been affiliated with the National Truck Leasing System for over 20 years, and is the largest Tennessee & Alabama member. Autow has provided its high quality personalized services to hundreds of commercial accounts, including Fortune 500 companies.

In 2013 Autow expanded again by purchasing the current location...a six acre facility on Lebanon Pike. Additions and enhancements were made to create a state-of-the-art rental/leasing/service location, including a four bay fuel island, truck detailing bay, and a new Sister Company: a trailer service and repair facility – Music City Trailer Repair. AUTOW has now become a one stop facility to handle all customer needs.

Enter 2018! Autow once again expanded, purchasing a location in Knoxville.

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